15 Horses Found Shot To Death On Old Strip Mine

FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. – 15 horses, many less than one-year-old, were found shot to death Tuesday near the Floyd and Pike County line.

Dumas Rescue President Tonya Conn spent all day Thursday at the scene helping with necropsies on some of the bodies.

“I was in disbelief. It was horrific, it was like a battlefield,” Conn said on the phone after her long day. “I’ve been doing rescues since 1999 and I’ve seen a lot of cruelty and neglect cases, starvation cases, just abandonment cases. But I’ve never seen anything as horrific and heinous as this.”

Among the animals killed were pregnant mares and this year’s foals. The bodies were found in an abandoned strip mine, known to Conn and the Kentucky Humane Society as a common grazing area for herds either turned loose or allowed to roam. It is not uncommon to drive through that part of eastern Kentucky and see herds walking along the roadside. Many have been abandoned, some foaled in the wild, but some are still cared for. In fact, Conn said, the owner of five of the slaughtered animals called to ask about their animals.

Kentucky Humane Society President Lori Redmon is acutely familiar with this strip mine and this herd. In October, Spectrum News 1 was introduced to Willow, an extremely emaciated mare rescued from Floyd County.

“Honestly, I can’t fathom why somebody would do this. There’s really no purpose,” Redmon said Thursday as she held Willow’s reins outside the Society’s new barn dedicated in her name. “These people, or person, had to go up there and search for those horses, track them down, and shoot them. So the only thing I can think of is it was pure malice.”

The humane society and its donors are offering a growing reward for information helpful to the case – last measured at $15,000. The Floyd County Sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post Thursday that the sight of the massacre was heartbreaking, but that support for the animals and the investigation has been heartwarming.

“We just want to find who’s responsible for this, because it won’t stop with horses.”